Every moment in life has more sides to the story, but often we only see or hear just one. The Hate U Give shows all sides, and also that stories can be easily twisted around on purpose.
Some tales need to be told over and over again. Because people refuse to listen, people refuse to see, and mostly because people refuse to learn. The story of The Hate U Give isn’t new, it isn’t unique, but it is a tale that needs to be told and needs to be shown. It is the story that is easily pushed away and forgotten because it isn’t pretty and nice, and it doesn’t concern many people in the world. And yet it does because the powers at hand in this book are the actual powers in the world and the state of mind is integrated into modern day society. Sometimes things have to change now, not in the future, and The Hate U Give shows exactly why. Because if we don’t change we’ll stay stuck in a world where people think in an “us and them”.
One of the most important things you do during puberty is discovering yourself, mentally as well as physically. But everyone does it in their own way, and this is what Aristotle and Dante discover the secrets of the universe focuses on.
When I tell people I came out at the age of 25, most of them respond with” “Wow, that’s late!”. My own family responds to that mostly with: “The only person who didn’t realise was in that closet, was Linda herself.” It made me feel odd for a bit, like it wasn’t real if you didn’t struggle with the concept for many years or when you had some huge outing in your teenage years. I decided quite quickly that I wouldn’t listen to these reactions, that my life is my life and my journey is my journey. But still… And then I read Aristotle and Dante discover the secrets of the universe. And I finally felt like I had a story I could connect to.
On one early and freezing cold morning our guide led us into the nature of the Limpopo region in South Africa. For weeks we had seen the most incredible animals and we were all curious about what we could see by travelling on foot for a change. There were no signs, there was no path, and all we saw for the first hour were rocks and trees. One of those rocks was our destination of the day, there were no animals that day. What we got to see, what our guide shared with us were the ancient spirits of South Africa. On this sole rock in the middle of nowhere the ancient San had once painted whole herds of kudu, springboks, humans, a hippo. And one sole giraffe.
That giraffe was so incredibly lifelike with its long legs and red spots, and it was painted far away from the other animals. Giraffes are relatively solitary animals and the distance from the other paintings struck me as it captured the wandering spirit of this animal perfectly. Half of the pictures I took that day are of that lonesome creature.
Recently I visited the famous site of the caves of Lascaux, a humbling and wonderful experience, where you can only see replicas to protect the original cave. It was a sharp contrast from this remote site in Limpopo where I easily could have touched the paintings if I wanted to, although our guide would have strongly scolded me if I did.